Judge Linda Davis, of 41-B District Court, shares a story of her daughter’s struggle with addiction at a past International Overdose Awareness Day event at Christ Church in Fraser. Davis is leaving her judgeship to focus her efforts on Families Against Narcotics.

Judge Linda Davis, of 41-B District Court, shares a story of her daughter’s struggle with addiction at a past International Overdose Awareness Day event at Christ Church in Fraser. Davis is leaving her judgeship to focus her efforts on Families Against Narcotics.

File photo by Sarah Purlee


Davis to leave judgeship to focus on FAN mission

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published March 11, 2019

 File photo by Erin Sanchez

File photo by Erin Sanchez

Davis sits on the 41-B bench.

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FRASER/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Linda Davis is shifting her focus to something near and dear to her heart: developing and expanding programs that better society and combat addiction.

Davis, who co-founded the grassroots organization Families Against Narcotics in 2007, confirmed March 6 that she will be stepping down from her role as a judge in 41-B District Court in Clinton Township to become the organization’s first executive director. Her official start date is April 1.

“We’re hoping we can elevate all of our chapters to be doing the same work we are doing in Macomb County,” she said.

Davis spent 13 years as a high school teacher before becoming a Macomb County prosecutor for another 13 years. Then, she spent 19 years as a 41-B District Court judge, where she also oversaw the drug court. Due to mandatory retirement at age 70, she only had about one year and eight months remaining to serve in judgeship.

“It was really a tough decision to walk away from that,” she said. “Giving up a judgeship is never an easy decision. They are great jobs and you’re lucky to have them.”

Previously, she served as FAN’s president and was part of the executive board — where individuals do not get paid. This new executive director position is something she said was needed for many years, but budgets didn’t allow for it.

“It was no secret that I was very passionate about the organization and wanted to see it grow, and educate the public on opioid use and addiction and the safeguards to make sure families didn’t get into the throes of it,” she said. “Making executive decisions wasn’t as meaningful as being in the field doing the work. … I’m a doer; I want to be in the field making change and not just sitting around a table talking about it.”

FAN’s 2019 budget is $596,000. Kelley Nahas, director of operations at FAN, said most of FAN’s funding has been sustained through private donations, grants and major fundraisers, such as the Run Drugs Out of Town and Fall Fest events.

“Although it was a hard decision for Judge Davis to walk away from a judgeship, it’s no secret that FAN has been a passion of hers for well over a decade,” Nahas said. “She was the obvious choice for executive director, as she has been an integral part of the growth and success of FAN. We look forward to continuing the momentum we have developed in strengthening our organization.”

Davis is ready to hit the ground running, expanding unification with the other state chapters in a team-like atmosphere. The more chapters that are added, the bigger the budget. A grant for Narcan availability raised costs. The Hope Not Handcuffs program costs money, due to paying for three-quarter houses, Narcan training and travel expenses.

“For years, we literally operated and grew on a shoestring budget,” Davis said. “We’re now in a position to do good in a lot of communities, and I think we’ve proven it.”

She continues to pinpoint a major aspect of addiction: Stigmas only derail the truth and education that surround addiction — something she said is not “a moral failing.”

As the nation spends billions of dollars on incarceration, and an opioid epidemic continues to rage, addicts sit in jail cells and don’t get necessary treatment. People of all ages continue to die.

Instead, she aims to make cost-effective open beds and medical-assisted treatment the norm, saving money in the long run instead of “giving punishment for a disease they never wanted.”

“We’re very involved in being game changers for the way addiction is looked at in our community,” she said.

According to the Michigan Bar Association, applications for Davis’ judgeship vacancy must be submitted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by 5 p.m. March 20.

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